Botjager tool finds that almost half of the tweets about ‘reopen America’ come from internet crawlers
Reopening America has been a hot topic on Twitter as millions call on the US government to end the lockdown, but a new study suggests the trend is fueled by bots.
Using a ‘bot hunter tool’, researchers found that there are twice as many web crawlers starting conversations about the coronavirus pandemic and those at home than human users.
After analyzing over 200 million tweets, experts determined that 82 percent of the top 50 influential retweeters are bots and 62 percent are bots in the top 1,000.
The team also found that 66 percent of the activity is orchestrated by human hands.
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Reopening America has been a hot topic on Twitter as millions call on the US government to end the lockdown – but a new study suggests the trend is fueled by bots
The findings were made by a team of Carnegie Mellon University, which scanned Twitter for coronavirus-related tweets from January.
They used artificial intelligence to look for signs of a bot-powered account, such as accounts that post numerous tweets and show locations in multiple countries within a few hours.
And while there is a lot of misinformation about the virus, bots have been found to be more involved in conversations about reopening U.S. and at-home orders.
Conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have run wild on Twitter and other social media platforms, which are harming the public.
Some ideas that such people should drink bleach to cure the virus, while others say the pandemic was caused by 5G cell phone towers.
Using a ‘bot hunter tool’, researchers found that there are twice as many web crawlers starting conversations about the coronavirus pandemic and those at home than human users. Last week, Twitter announced it will warn users when a tweet contains disputed or misleading information about the coronavirus.
Kathleen Carley, a professor at the School for Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement, “We are seeing up to twice as much bone activity as we predicted from previous natural disasters, crises and elections.”
She also noted why they speculate that there is an increase in bots during the coronavirus pandemic – millions of people are locked up and have more time for people to create the Internet spiders.
The team also noted a spike in advanced groups hiring companies to manage bot accounts
“Because it is global, it is used by various countries and interest groups as an opportunity to meet political agendas,” said Carley.
A subset of tweets about ‘reopening of America’ reference conspiracy theories, such as hospitals filled with mannequins or the corona virus linked to 5G towers.
Conspiracy theories increase polarization in groups. It’s what many disinformation campaigns aim to do, ”said Carley. “People are really concerned about health and the economy, and people are chasing it to create division.”
The team also found that 66 percent of the activity is orchestrated by human hands. Twitter also shared how they treat tweets with misinformation about the coronavirus
Carley said that spreading conspiracy theories leads to more extreme opinions, which in turn can lead to more extreme behavior and less rational thinking.
“Increased polarization will have various ramifications in the real world and will manifest itself in such things as voting behavior and hostility to ethnic groups,” said Carley.
Unfortunately, Carley and her team can’t figure out who’s behind the bots.
HOW DO TWITTER’S BIGGEST ACCOUNTS LIKE BOTS?
Researchers have previously discovered bots retweet and more often posted links to external sites than non-bot accounts.
They also see less involvement in their tweets.
Bots tweet more often, but they spend less time “ liking ” others’ tweets.
They revealed that user behavior with 10 million followers or more was more in line with bots than humans.
These accounts tweet at about the same rate as bots with similar sequence numbers and, like bots, tweet more generally.
They rely more on retweeting and posting links to external sites than on human accounts.
Their tweets are also of lesser quality and see less involvement.
“We know it looks like a propaganda machine, and it certainly matches the Russian and Chinese playbooks, but it would take a huge amount of resources to back that up,” Carley said.
She does suggest that users do their utmost when looking at Twitter accounts to determine if they are real users or the crawlers.
“There is no guarantee, but a careful examination of an account can reveal indications of a bot, such as sharing links with subtle typos, many tweets coming out very quickly or a username and profile image that doesn’t seem to be correct,” Carley explains. in a statement.
Even if someone seems to be from your community, if you don’t know them personally, take a good look and always go to authoritative or trusted sources for information. Just be very vigilant. ‘
Last week, Twitter announced it will warn users when a tweet contains disputed or misleading information about the coronavirus.
The social media company will consider on a case-by-case basis how it decides which tweets to tag and will only delete posts that are harmful, company leaders said Monday.
Some tweets run with a label underneath that directs users to a link with additional information about COVID-19.
Other tweets may be fully covered by a warning label that warns users that “some or all of the content shared in this tweet violates public health experts’ guidelines on COVID-19.”